By Chima Nwokoji-Lagos
In response to the barrage of complaints from Nigerians who are passing through difficulties getting the Naira for their daily transactions, the governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has called on Nigerians to be patient and show more understanding as everything is being done to correct some of the observed lapses in the implementation of the ambitious program.
At a press briefing on the Benefits of the Naira Redesign Policy held in Lagos on Friday evening, Emefiele said the CBN is aware of the difficulty being faced by Nigerians in accessing the new Currency at this initial stages of its issue and circulation “but wishes to plead with all, to please show some understanding as everything is being done to correct some of the observed lapses in the implementation of this ambitious program.”
He also regretted that greedy and malevolence bankers are sabotaging the CBN’s efforts.
Emefiele, however, assured all Nigerians that the CBN working with the Deposit Money Banks and other very important stakeholders such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) are working together to ensure that the ultimate goal, which is to deliver to all Nigerians, a new currency that meets global standards is achieved.
“Please, also permit me to say that this difficulty is transient given our strong belief that the ultimate gain of the policy to our Country far outweighs the short run pains of today.
“As the new deadlines approach, please permit me to express our sadness over the unscrupulous and unpatriotic conduct of some of our colleagues in the banking industry, whose greed and malevolence are sabotaging the CBN’s efforts,” he stated.
He added that law enforcement agencies are on the proll of unpatriotic colleagues and their collaborators. “A few of them involved in the sale of the new currency have been arrested by EFCC, ICPC and indeed the DSS; and let me assure all Nigerians that these unscrupulous persons shall face the full wrath of the Law.
“On our part, let me assure all that the CBN possesses the capacity, manpower, and equipment and grit to produce and circulate the new notes and are doing all in our power to ease the inconvenience on all Nigerians , particularly the vulnerable Nigerians,” he reiterated.
Responding to complaints around high PoS charges, Emefiele hinted that the CBN, super agents and other stakeholders will hold a meeting to ensure that Nigerians are not made to suffer high charges going forward.
On insinuations that the exercise is politically motivated, Emefiele said this policy is not targeted at anyone or any group of persons.
Rather he stated, it derived from inhouse analysis to strengthen Nigeria’s macroeconomic fundamentals and better socio-economic conditions.
“Our principal aim, with the currency redesign initiative, is to make our Monetary Policy decisions more efficacious and like you can see; we have started to see inflation trending downwards and exchange rates relatively stable. “Secondly, we aim to increase financial inclusion in the country by reducing the number of the unbanked population. “Thirdly, our aim is to support the efforts of our security agencies in combating banditry and ransom-taking in Nigeria through this program and we can see that the Military are making good progress in this area,” he said.
So far and since the commencement of this program, Emefiele said CBN has collected about N2.1 trillion; leaving about N900 billion .
“To achieve effective distribution, of the new currency the CBN has taken the following steps: We held several meetings with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and provided them with Guidance Notes on processes they must adopt in the collection of old notes and distribution of the New Notes to all Nigerians. “These includes specific directives to DMBs to load new notes into their ATMs nationwide to ensure an equitable/transparent mechanism for the distribution of the new notes to all Nigerians.
“This approach was initially adopted following reports that some DMBs were favoring their Prime customers at the expense of their small account holders at bank branches. After sometime, and in a meeting with the DMBs, we decided to allow withdrawals over the Counter but subject to no more than N20,000,” Emefiele emphasized.